One White House reporter's stunning inside view of access journalism

“I personally love it when he tweets,” said Bloomberg correspondent Jennifer Jacobs of President Donald Trump during a recent appearance in Des Moines, “just because his Twitter is an uncurtained window into his mind, and we always want to know what’s on his mind, unfiltered from his staff.”

Jacobs opened a window onto her own mindset as she told a room full of journalists “what it’s like to get good information out of the Trump White House.”

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Health care debate explodes myth of Kim Reynolds the researcher

This year’s Congressional health care debate exposed a lot of hypocrisy and dishonesty among Republicans who never had a solid plan for how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Politicians may yet revive something resembling the health care legislation that is dead for now.

The image of Governor Kim Reynolds as some kind of policy wonk should be destroyed beyond repair.

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How Phil Miller won the Iowa House district 82 special election

Democrat Phil Miller won today’s special election in Iowa House district 82 by 4,021 votes to 3,324 for Republican Travis Harris (53.8 percent to 44.5 percent). It was a larger margin of victory than Miller’s good friend Curt Hanson managed in his 2009 special election, the first state legislative race after the Iowa Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in Varnum v Brien. The results will be a morale boost for Democrats, since Donald Trump won nearly 57.8 percent of the vote in the House district 82 precincts last year, compared to just 36.4 percent for Hillary Clinton.

The 7,476 votes cast in House district 82, according to the unofficial tally, is roughly three times higher than the turnout for the special elections earlier this year in heavily Republican House district 22 and heavily Democratic House district 89. The major parties spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on television commercials and direct mail to mobilize supporters of Miller and Harris (more on that spending below). On the other hand, turnout for this race was a bit lower than voter participation in Hanson’s special election win eight years ago.

Miller’s home base of Jefferson County, containing the population centers of Fairfield and Vedic City, carried him to victory.

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Grassley and Ernst voted three times for higher costs and less insurance coverage

Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act suffered a major setback this week, as the U.S. Senate rejected three repeal bills. It may not be the last “near-death experience” for Obamacare, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could bring one of the bills up again. But the Democratic caucus is unmovable on the issue, and it’s not clear what could bring GOP Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, or Susan Collins on board.

Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst voted for all three Republican bills, of course, as everyone following this debate had expected. Grassley told reporters earlier this week that he would support any legislation that could get 51 votes in the Senate, leading to conference negotiations with House Republicans. Though Ernst never expressed it in such terms, she too demonstrated that she was willing to vote for anything her leader brought to the floor, regardless of its costs and impact on Iowans.

Let’s take a quick look at what Iowa’s senators promised to stand for on health care policy, compared to what they voted for when the chips were down.

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Turning good economic news into bad news

Economist Dave Swenson explains why “a tight labor market is good for workers and good for families,” contrary to what you may have read in the newspaper. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Iowa’s enviously low unemployment rate of 3.1 percent is distressing many in the business community and, by proxy, business news. In recent months more and more people are declaring that Iowa is at full employment, and that, they say, is a problem.

It’s not. Iowa’s economy bumping up against full employment, if in fact that is happening, is a good thing. It is the stated goal of every politician’s overweening job creation rhetoric. It is what we hope for as our economy moves through the wrenching disruptions to firms and households caused by recessions. It is precisely what we want to happen: as many people are working as our economy can support.

Unless it creates discomfort in the business community. Then low unemployment is a problem. Let me explain.

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Celebrating Art Cullen

Former State Senator Daryl Beall shares highlights from a June 16 event in Des Moines honoring Storm Lake Times editor Art Cullen, who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for a series of columns that “successfully challenged powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

Part toast, part roast, the standing-room-only soiree for Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Cullen was a memorable event. Orchestrated and emceed by Iowa Freedom of Information Council executive director Randy Evans, the event also served as a fundraiser and friend-raiser for the IFOIC and was attended by past and present journalists, politicos and other well-wishers.

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